264,000 Tenn. Students Truant in 2011, 9,000 Prosecuted

Dec 3, 2012

Professor Dean Hill Rivkin of the UT College of Law conducts research on the subject of truancy in Tennessee.
Credit UTK

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — More than 264,000 students were considered truant in Tennessee last year, according to researchers at the University of Tennessee.

In Tennessee, any student missing five or more days without adequate explanation is truant.

Professor Dean Rivkin at the UT College of Law, has examined truancy laws, data and enforcement across the state for the past four years.

Rivkin says truancy is on the rise in Tennessee and he’s advocating changes in state law. He notes that about 9,000 children were prosecuted in Juvenile Courts for truancy, something he doesn’t believe is helpful.

“There is no data, evidence based or otherwise, that show that prosecuting students for truancy has any efficacy in getting these students back to school."

Rivkin says research does provide solution that do get results, including pairing truant students with mentors, and reducing class sizes.